Lighthouse Wish Come True
MIKE SPRINGER/Staff photo
Paul Silva, 60, smiles after looking up to see the Eastern Point Lighthouse after he flipped the switch to light it. Silva, a resident of Atria Maplewood Place senior living center in Malden, was left seriously disabled after a series of strokes. When he told Linda York-Robbins, a Gloucester resident who works at Maplewood Place, about his lifelong love of lighthouses and about how he had always dreamed of being a lightkeeper, Robbins called Coast Guard Station Gloucester to request a special visit. Although the light at Eastern Point typically runs automatically, the Coast Guard arranged for Silva to flip the switch and light it manually. Afterward, Boatswain's Mate 1st Class Devan Smith presented Silva with a certificate naming him honorary lightkeeper, and gave him a pair of Coast Guard "challenge coins" that are presented as souvenirs on special occasions. "I feel so honored," said Silva. "It's very emotional for me because of the love I have for the ocean and for lighthouses." Silva had nothing but praise for the Coast Guard. "I'll be forever greatful," he said.